Jon Lottman was raised on Capitol Hill at a time when mom-and-pop record stores dotted enough of the nearby streets that he grew up thinking of them as “a neighborhood amenity.” Decades later, there are none to be found. “But someone’s gonna open a record store here someday,” the 51-year-old says, “and I want it to be me.”

So this summer, Lottman launched Spin Time Records, an online record shop that peddles new releases and fresh reissues from D.C. area artists almost exclusively. Lottman says that he’s always been drawn to highly curated specialty shops because they exude an almost “monumental character, like a gallery, or a museum, or a library. So you’re not just selling stuff. You’re offering access and exposure to something that has value, culturally. And that’s whether people are just coming to look or to take the pieces off the walls.”

Lottman is searching for some walls he can afford — real estate on Capitol Hill is pricey, “like $100 a square foot,” he says — but in the meantime, he’s considering opening a stopgap retail space where customers could swing by and pick up their online orders in person. Either way, Spin Time remains a mail order business for now, with Lottman doing occasional hand-deliveries in the neighborhood and nearby.

As for the store’s selection, it captures an incredible breadth of D.C. area music, ranging from new stuff (the latest from rap duo Model Home and folk guitarist Yasmin Williams) to the old (reissued records from guitar daredevil Link Wray and jazz flutist Lloyd McNeill). And if you’re especially interested in how Lottman hears the world, check out “Same Old Song,” a collaboration between Lottman’s “basement” reggae group, the Capitolites All Stars, and the late dub legend Lee “Scratch” Perry.

How’d that happen? After the pandemic shutdowns of 2020, Perry and his co-producers were trying to offset touring losses by accepting remote collaborations from anyone who had the cash. So Lottman, a lifelong Perry aficionado, jumped at the chance to work with his hero from afar, eventually pressing “Same Old Song” to 10-inch vinyl earlier this year.

“That’s the traditional, reggae dubplate format, and if I’m only gonna make one record in my lifetime, it’s gonna be the way I want it!” Lottman says with a laugh. Cool story. The kind you might hear at your favorite record store.

Visit Spin Time Records at
spintimerecords.com
.

A previous version of this article incorrectly said that Spin Time Records sells D.C. artists exclusively. It sells other items, as well. The article has been corrected.

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